MPs on Saturday asked the Ministry of Agriculture to allocated Sh1 billion to fight the fall armyworm as experts warn pest could destroy half of Kenya’s annual maize crop.
The National Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation urged the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, to declare the pest infestation an emergency situation.
“At least Sh1 billion should be allocated for mitigation efforts eradicate the pest. By doing so, we shall be addressing a very crucial situation [which] is one of the biggest in history to have griped our farmers,” said Moiben MP Silas Tiren.
But the Agriculture secretary has said the government can only avail Sh400 million for efforts to eradicate the pest.
While reiterating that agriculture is a devolved function, CS Kiunjuri said he is set to hold a meeting with governors on Monday to discuss the issue further.
“But because of the magnitude of armyworm effects, we have to assist. Governors and especially those from the affected regions need to tell us their preparedness,” the CS said.
Earlier in a joint statement signed by both committee chairperson Adan Haji Ali and the Agriculture CS Kiunjuri, the MPs vowed to support efforts aimed at taming the pest and restore food production in the country.
“The committee and the ministry are alive to the re-emergency of the fall armyworm in various regions and especially in the country’s food basket counties of Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma and Nandi,” said the statement ready by the CS.
The MPs recommended several measures to control the pest, including early morning spraying within 14 days of the pest infestation.
Mr Kiunjuri said that ten counties are under surveillance since they are at a high risk of being the fall armyworm invasion